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tv   CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor  CBS  December 18, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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captioning sponsored by cbs >> amtrak 501 emergency. we are on the ground. >> glor: a deadly train wreck in washington state. >> we're coming around the corner to take the bridge over i-5 and we went on the ground. >> we could hear and feel the cars crumbling and breaking apart. >> glor: also tonight, the power is back in atlanta, but more flights are canceled. >> this is a nightmare. >> glor: a modern-day cold war. >> there's almost a mini arms buildup going on. >> glor: rhode island's charlie brown christmas. >> i've killed it. oh, everything i touch gets ruined. >> glor: and unidentified flying objects. the pentagon's secret program to identify them. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with jeff glor.
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>> glor: good evening. the first run of a new amtrak commuter line in the pacific northwest ended in tragedy. the 14-car train jumped the tracks this morning south of seattle and most of the cars flew off an overpass, some hitting vehicles on the road below. others still dangling in the air tonight. the train carried 77 passengers and a crew of 7. at least three people were killed. there are dozens of injuries. the n.t.s.b. is on the scene, and so is cbs news correspondent john blackstone. >> reporter: the accident scene is a jumble of derailed train cars, trucks, and automobiles. >> when you see the pictures, it's pretty horrific. >> people were screaming. it was crazy. >> reporter: an amtrak commuter train on a new, higher-speed line between seattle and portland, derailed. >> amtrak 501. emergency. we ar on the ground. >> reporter: this radio call captured the moment it was first
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learned that the train derailed. >> is everyone okay? >> i'm still figuring that out. >> reporter: one car flipped up side down. another dangled precariously off the overpass. still others piled up, wreckage strewn over a wide area. of the 14 cars, only one, the lead engine, remained on the tracks. no motorists were killed from the crash. >> i was scared, you know, i was really scared. >> reporter: adrian thompson was en route to see his mother for the holiday. >> i grabbed on to the chair in front of me for dear life. my laptop went flying, phone went flying. >> reporter: within minutes of the derailment dozens of emergency crews rushed in, as did drivers who westbound witnessed the crash, like trevor colby, who helped pulled shrivers to safety. >> i saw smoke. next thing i know, myself and a few others are trying to get people medical care when we can. >> reporter: this was first trip for the new seattle-to-portland line, but some local officials had
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expressed concern these tracks weren't safe enough for a commuter train traveling 80mph. those passengers who were able to walk away feel enormously fortunate. >> i said a prayer multiple times after th. i feel blessed to be alive and okay right now. >> reporter: investigators from the national transportation safety board are now on the scene of this accident looking for an answer to that al naim -- an answer to that al naim important question: what caused this on a newly built set of tracks meant for a higher-speed operation. was it a problem with the train, the tracks, or perhaps operator error? it could take weeks to get an answer. jeff? >> glor: john blackstone, thank you. debora hersman is a former chairman of the national transportation safety board. she's now president and c.e.o. of the national safety council. she joins us from chicago tonight. mrs. hersman, first of all, what are investigators looking for now? >> when investigators first arrive on scene, they will look to collect all of the perishable
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evidence, document the scene, and grab the recorders as quickly as possible and either download them on site or send them back into a lab so they can be read out. >> glor: there's something called a positive train control system. some feel that might have made a difference here. what is that, and what might it have done? >> it's really too early to tell if positive train control could have prevented this derailment, because we don't know what caused the derailment. positive train control is really a back-up to the human being. the engineer and the cab could be distracted, fatigued, or incapacitated. positive train control is g.p.s. technology that knows if trains are going the collide with one another or if trains are speeding over what is permitted in that section of track. and so it keeps the train from potentially derailing if they go too fast for conditions. >> glor: debora hersman, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> glor: it is a different kind of transportation issue for
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air travelers in atlanta where an airport power failure forced cancellation yesterday of nearly 1,00 flights. -- 1,200 flights. the power is back, but airlines are struggling to get back on schedule. transportation correspondent kris van cleave is in atlanta. [applause] >> reporter: even with the lights back on monday, more than 400 additional flights were canceled and the lines stretched as far as you could see. >> again, i apologize for tin convenience. >> reporter: yesterday passengers roamed the nation's busiest airport in the dark. others were stuck on the airport tram. some slept on the baggage belts. more than 1,000 flights were canceled. >> this is absurd. like people are sleeping on the floor like homeless people. it's just like... i have never seen anything like this at all. >> glor: this morning dementia was handing out doughnut, which came as little comfort to this woman who was supposed to fly home yesterday. >> you have no contingency
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plans. all these people are here. there's no food, no water. they told us absolutely nothing. >> reporter: for seven hours? >> for seven hours. >> reporter: a fire deep below the airport caused the power outage that stranded an estimated 30,000 passengers sunday. georgia power believes a piece of equipment known as a switch gear failed sparking the fire. it burned through the cable supplying power to the airport, including all of the back-ups, leading to questions as the why the backup power was located ro close to the main line. >> it impacted flights around the world. >> they cascaded around the world we recognize that. that's why it's so important that this doesn't happen again. >> reporter: paul bowers is the utility's c.e.o. it doesn't make you look really good when you say there are redunn didn't si, but the redundancies failed, too. >> you look at that question about redundancy. a single point of failure like that is absolutely something that you consider, but the failure rate of any type of switch gear so minute in our network that, you know, we didn't design for that. now we have to look at that to try to isolate it.
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>> reporter: delta the biggest carrier here at atlanta's airport canceled about 390 flights today, but the airport says it's now running at 100% efficiency. that doesn't mean all of the problems have been solved. there is a sea of bags that still need to be reunited with its flyers. anthony? >> glor: all right, kris. i'll take it. >> sorry, jeff. >> glor: no worries, kris. appreciate it. president trump today outlined his national security plan, which emphasizes peace through strength, a new era of competition with russia and china. e-mails are also on the president's mind, this time e-mails from his own transition team. they've become part of the special counsel's investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. here's chief white house correspondent major garrett. >> reporter: after president trump returned from camp david sunday, reporters asked if he was considering firing special counsel robert mueller. >> new york i'm not. >> reporter: but mr. trump said attorneys for his transition were angered by mueller's move to obtain e-mails from their office as part of his
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russia investigation. >> my people were very upset about it. i can't imagine there'sing anytg on them, frankly, because as we said, there's in collusion. there's in collusion whatsoever. >> reporter: in a letter to congress, a transition attorney called the seizure of e-mails unlawful and accused the government age they provided computers and this office space to the trump transition of illegally handing over privileged or private communications to mueller's team. a spokesman for mueller said all e-mails collected by investigators came through "either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process." the act silings of transition e-mail, illegal? >> no. >> reporter: unethical? >> no. >> reporter: john wood is a former government attorney. >> the individuals should have known they no v no right to
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privacy because they were on a public server. >> reporter: the e-mail squabble feeds growing scepticism of mueller's investigation. last week many in the g.o.p. seezed on text messages from a former mueller investigator as evidence of bias against mr. trump. republican john cornyn of texas. >> i have confidence in director mueller. i would just think he would be concerned about the appearance of conflicts of interest. >> reporter: sources tell cbs mueller's team has had the e-mails since august and has used them enter n interviews with white house and transition officials. trump's lawyers, mr. trump's lawyers, rather, jeff, will meet with mueller's team later this week for a status update on the russia investigation. >> glor: major garrett, thank you very much from the white house. the president could be signing the tax cut bill by mid-week. today his vice president put off a trip to the middle east in case he's needed to break a tie in the senate. here is chief congressional correspondent nancy cordes. >> most main households will see their taxes go down.
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>> reporter: there are now few obstacles standing between the $1.46 trillion tax plan and final passage. a pair of g.o.p. hold-outs declared their support today and first major independent analysis found the bill could drive up taxes for only 5% of taxpayers next year, an improvement from previous versions. the tax policy center determined that taxpayers making between $50,000 and $90,000 a year would save on average $900 or 1.6% of their after-tax income. the very top earners would see a larger savings of 3.4%. on average, about 51,000 dollars. >> it's still the case that over time the tax cuts will generally get smaller and smaller. >> reporter: tax expert joseph rosenberg says one area where republicans fell short was their promise to make the tax code
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simpler. >> it's introducing a lot of additional complexities. >> so we will not be able to do our taxes on a postcard? >> i think postcard is out. >> reporter: controversy similarrered over a deduction added to the bill at the last minute. analysts say it would primarily benefit wealthy commercial real estate investors, like president trump or tennessee republican bob corker. >> the benefits are larger the more income you have. >> reporter: so if i own an apartment that i rent out, i don't benefit from this? >> you might benefit, but not very much. >> reporter: corker insisted today he had no knowledge of this provision when he announced his support on friday, and g.o.p. leaders backed him up, but democrats say, jeff, this is a needless giveaway no matter what to an industry that's already thriving. >> glor: nancy cordes, thank you. the director for the centers for disease control is defending the agency after a report that it's compiled a list of seven dirty words that should not be used when asking congress for money.
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dr. jon lapook has more on this. >> reporter: the seven words that sparked outrage are vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fee -- fetus, evidence based and science based. budget analysts at the c.d.c. were told to consider avoiding those words in order to get the broadest congressional support for funding. that advice came from the dependent of health and human services or hhs. while the c.d.c. issued a statement saying there was no explicit order to ban words, some critics worry this sends the wrong message, one that censors research. a federal official told cbs news that this was simply guidance provided to people who write budget proposals and was not out of the ordinary. >> i have to say from my experience, this is very much out of the ordinary. >> reporter: kathleen sebelius was head of hhs from 2009 to 2014. >> i don't know how you talk
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about maternal and child health without using the word "fetus." >> when people at the c.d.c. hear, these are the words that could lead to trouble, could it lead to self-censorship, like i'm not going to do research there? >> of course. i have never heard about a budget document being edited or preedited, if you, will but it certainly is a form of censorship. >> reporter: what message does this send to the c.d.c.? >> i hope it doesn't send some of the very competent, talented people out the door. i think it's a very troubling message, not just to the c.d.c., but to the american public about public health. >> reporter: both the c.d.c. and hss declined our request for an interview. we were not able to learn how high up in the administration this guidance came from. jeff? >> glor: dr. lapook, thank you very much. here are some other stories we're following in this evening's news feed. jerry richardson is selling the carolina panthers. the announcement came just hours after "sports illustrated"
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reported richardson was accused of sexual misconduct involving female employees as well as directing a racial slur at a team scout. today john mccain tweeted his thanks for the support he's received from the public. he wrote, "i'm feeling well and looking forward the returning to work after the holidays." researchers in minnesota say there is no proven way to prevent dementia late in life. they reviewed scores of trials evaluating physical activity, prescription drugs, cognitive training, including memory game, and over-the-counter supplements. they say there is no evidence any of them can stop dementia. and there is much more ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." the 40-year-old polar star, america's only heavy ice breaker, is near the end of its life. this fuse helps the ship rub? >> yes, it does. >> and you found it on ebay? >> yes. >> i never thought it was such a bad little tree. >> glor: apparently the people of rhode island disagree.
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>> should we be worried about u.f.o. ?z u.f.o. ?z >> this is a national security imperative. >> my gosh. imperative. ys keeping me from the things i love to do. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424. he's a nascar champion who's she's a world-class swimmer who's stared down the best in her sport. but for both of them, the most challenging opponent was... pe blood clots in my lung. it was really scary. a dvt in my leg. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. my doctor and i choose xarelto® xarelto®... to help keep me protected. xarelto® is a latest-generation blood thinner...
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you've got to learn all you can... help protect yourself from dvt and pe blood clots. talk to your doctor about xarelto®. there's more to know. >> glor: in his national security address today, president trump said america is coming back and coming back strong. but it turns out the u.s. has fallen behind in a modern-day cold war. here's carter evans. >> reporter: when the coast guard cutter polar star plows through the ice, it can feel like an earthquake on board. its missions are vice toll keeping shipping lanes open in the north and south pole. >> america is an arctic nation. that's part of our country, part of our land. >> reporter: but coast guard vice admiral fred midget warns the u.s. is being outspent on the ice by vladimir putin. russia has six new heavy ice breakers. >> if you look at what russia is doing, there's almost a miniarms
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buildup going on in the arctic. >> reporter: meanwhile, the 40-year-old polar star, america's only heavy ice breaker, is near the end of its life. this ship was commissioned in 1976. >> 1976. >> reporter: how many heavy ice breakers has the coast guard built since then? >> zero. >> reporter: so keeping polar star afloat is job one. we caught up with the ship as it was undergoing vital repairs. everything from the boiler room to the propulsion system. some of the most critical maintenance involves replacing the ship's 16-foot-tall propellers, but these are not new. they came from the polar star's sister ship. it was damaged beyond repair in 2010. if you didn't do this maintenance before you headed out, what could have happened? >> we probably would have lost a rudder this year because there were a lot of cracks and there was a lot of corrosion there. >> reporter: the captain showed us around the ship, where the computer is so antiquated, the coast guard had to find old parts online.
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this fuse helps the ship run? >> yes, it does. >> reporter: and you found it on embay? >> yes, the coast guard found it on ebay. >> reporter: earlier this summer president trump told coast guard cadets help is on the way, but with a new ship seven years away at best, the ship always sails with at least a year's worth of food, just in case it breaks down and guess stuck in the ice. >> glor: when we come back, a major leaguer takes generosity to a new level. trust #1 doctor recommended dulcolax.
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>> glor: as christmas presents gosh, it would be hard to top this one: texas rangers' pitcher cole hamels and his wife heidi said today they're donating a 32,000 square foot mansion near branson, missouri to, camp barnabas, a charity that helps kids with special needs and illnesses. the home is worth nearly $10 million and sits on 104 acres. in providence, rhode island, the statehouse christmas tree didn't make it to christmas.
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>> maybe it just needs a little love. >> glor: too late for that now. the tree was drying up and shedding needles. today it was cut dunn and turned into woodchips. with just a week until the holiday, a local tree farm donated a new treat and did save christmas in the capital. a lot of folks use family photo for their christmas card. here's one from a family in england. you might have heard of them. prince william and wife kate along with their children george and charlotte. and george has the christmas holiday shorts. very nice. we'll be right back. ♪ as soon as i became a parent i changed as a person, drastically. ♪ i tried hard to quit smoking. ♪ but when we brought our daughter home that was it. ♪ now i have nicoderm cq.
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>> glor: a cbs news poll this year found most americans believe there is intelligent life on other planets. but has that life visited earth? tony dokoupil reports the military has been looking. >> there's a whole fleet of them. look on the s.a. >> my gosh. >> reporter: you're watching just one of the many u.f.o. encounters investigated by the department of defense. >> look at that thing. >> reporter: the unidentified flying object, about the size of a school bus, attracted the attention of former intelligence officer luis elizondo. >> it's not a drone. it's not something that we can easily say, oh, that's an airplane. >> reporter: for years elizondo ran a $22 million pentagon effort aimed at understanding the physics of sightings like this one. >> frankly, if it's russian, chinese, little green men from mars or your neighbor's dog, really don't care. my focus is what is it, and how does it work? >> reporter: elizondo refused
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to discuss the number of cases he investigated, but he did work with robert bigelow, a las vegas aerospace tycoon who recently told "60 minutes" that alien life is real. >> i'm absolutely convinced. that's all there is to it. >> reporter: do you also believe u.f.o.s have come to earth? >> there has and is an existing presence. >> reporter: from 1964 to 1969, an air force program investigated more than 12,000 u.f.o. sightings,00 of which are still unidentified. >> i would say remain skeptical, absolutely, but there comes a point when the evidence becomes overwhelming. >> reporter: elizondo says we're not at that point yet, but he believes something is out there. and ignoring it just won't fly. tony dokoupil, cbs news, new york. >> glor: that is the "cbs evening news." i'm jeff glor. good night. ♪
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>> good evening, i'm don bell, we're coming to you liver in the parking lot of our "joy of sharing" toyfest, both have been -- folks have bank dropping by all day since 6:00 r the season, for the kids, and obviously, see, i'm not really standing by myself like the welcome in the eagles cheerleaders, swoop in the howls, as well, always bringing the fun, always bringing the party. like to go down the line here and get some introductions. >> my name is simone. >> hi, everyone, my name is victoria. >> high i'm sage. >> hi, i'm kate. >> the ladies here hanging out and bringing toys and sage, you guys participate in this every single year. why do you do it? >> well, we know that the cbs-3 "joy of sharing" toyfest campaign benefits


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